Jay-Z is officially hip-hop's first billionaire, according to Forbes

The rapper who comes closest to Jay-Z is Diddy, with an estimated net worth of $825 million.
Image: Jay-Z performs during the "On The Run II" Tour at the Rose Bowl in California on Sept. 22, 2018.
Jay-Z performs during the "On The Run II" Tour at the Rose Bowl in California on Sept. 22, 2018.Larry Busacca / Getty Images for Parkwood Entertainment file

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By Daniel Arkin

Jay-Z made the blueprint for a billion.

The Brooklyn-born rapper and mogul, whose real name is Shawn Carter, has amassed a fortune worth $1 billion, according to Forbes, "making him one of only a handful of entertainers to become a billionaire — and the first hip-hop artist to do so."

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Jay-Z's sprawling business empire includes stakes in liquor, art, real estate and big-name companies like Uber. The 22-time Grammy winner also launched his own brands, including the clothing label Rocawear, which was sold to Iconix for more than $200 million in 2007.

The relatively short list of entertainment industry billionaires also includes "Star Wars" creator George Lucas, Oscar-winning director Steven Spielberg, media mogul Oprah Winfrey and retired NBA star Michael Jordan, according to a list published last year by Forbes.

Forbes said it calculated the artist's net worth by evaluating his positions in private companies, adding up his income and subtracting "a healthy amount to account for a superstar lifestyle." The magazine added that it ran its numbers by outside experts to make sure its estimates were "fair and conservative."

Jay-Z, 49, and his wife, pop superstar Beyoncé, officially became a billion-dollar pair in 2017 with a combined net worth of more than $1.16 billion. Beyoncé, 37, has an individual net worth of more than $350 million, according to Forbes' calculations.

The hip-hop star who comes closest to Jay-Z is Diddy, with an estimated net worth of $825 million.

In 2014, it was thought that Dr. Dre would snag the first hip-hop artist billionaire spot when his Beats company was sold to Apple for more than $3 billion, but Forbes estimated his net-worth at the time would have been about $800 million — saying capital gains taxes would eat a big chunk.